The true cost of doing nothing

18th March 2015

The After Build 5-point programme

The HBF Star rating system assigns each participating builder with an overall star rating, calculated from the response to 19 questions by a sample of their home buyers. The maximum star value is 5 stars, the lowest currently measured achieved 3 starts and the industry average for 2015 is 4 stars.

The net movement of those respondents giving a ‘Very’ or ‘Fairly’ satisfied response to questions has dropped across all categories over the last 12 months, moving the industry down from an average of 5 stars to 4.

This is the only scheme by which builders can universally measure their performance and its importance is never to be underestimated.

After Build has a clear understanding and realistic vision of  how a builder must adapt to improve their score rating and when analysing the specific questions, recognises that 58% of the areas under scrutiny can be improved by the services provided by After Build (directly or indirectly).

The true cost of doing nothing

Q: ‘If you were to buy another newly built or newly converted home again, would you buy it from the same builder?’ – in 2015 published results reveal that the response to this question dropped by 5%. This translates into a theoretical sales decline as follows:

Chart1

*UK av. house price £250,000

The aggregation of marginal gains

Those who followed the London Olympics may recall the success of the British Cycling team who took 70% of all Gold medals in their sport. Their coach Dave Brailsford had the task of taking a great team to even greater heights – not by making vast and radical changes to their regime – but by identifying and improving many small areas of performance which, collectively had a big and positive effect; the’ Aggregation of Marginal Gains’.

At first there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1% better or 1% worse. But over time these small improvements or declines compound until suddenly you see a very big gap between those people making slightly better decisions on a daily basis,  from those people who don’t.
‘Success is a few simple disciplines, practised every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day”

Jim Rohn (American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker)

How we take this forward

Begin with a realistic perspective: After Build can lead, direct and facilitate a change of behaviour in ‘certain’ aspects of developer’s business – not in all and never without the complete ‘buy-in’ of the developer’s business team. We are neither a magic bullet nor a wonder cure; however we are able to identify, plan, instigate and promote a series of steps that will improve the developer’s overall performance.

Critical to success

The developer to communicate service scope and objective across all aspects of his business – sales, construction, external contractors and purchasers (set realistic expectations)
The developer to investigate those aspects of their business where After Build cannot positively impact and apply at least equal attention to improvements in product and performance

POINT 1 – Condition of the property at occupation

Each plot is snagged by the site team and corrected accordingly (final build snag). Experience confirms that any site team will struggle to correctly identify everything at this stage – a problem brought about by over familiarity. A fresh set of trained eyes will pick up what has been overlooked and we conduct a thorough survey to capture anything a reasonable purchaser would consider ‘unreasonable’. Our attention is invested in a careful look at decoration, sealant, tiling, doors and frames, glazing, sanitary ware, plumbing and electrical, appliances, flooring, kitchen furniture, heating and hot water.

Each snag is photographed, labelled and described on a report which then goes back to the site team for their immediate attention.  We allow up to 7 days for all snags to be corrected and the property to be sparkle cleaned before the purchaser visits.

Site Manager is required to sign and date each snag as completed (or otherwise) and return the report to After Build. Any snags outstanding are reported to the developer who may chose not to release the property until all is complete – or otherwise. After Build retain a schedule of those plots that were released with uncompleted snags for performance evaluation purposes later.

POINT 2 – The handover process

Each purchaser is met and taken around their home, before legal completion (but after snagging and exchange).  The layout and design benefits are explained. Systems (M&E) and technology are demonstrated. Questions are answered (or answers are found and communicated back within 24 hours). Any final snag items (last minute shrinkage) are captured and reported to site for completion before occupation.

POINT 3 – The quality of information at handover

Details of the defect management process are explained using  After Build’s free booklet  ‘Managing Your New Home’ . Wider aspects of the property, the facilities and local amenities are explained in the Homeowner Manual (designed and produced by After Build).

POINT 4 – The service dealing with snags and defects

All defects can be reported either via email or the After Build ‘Occupant Portal’ (in the first instance).  Our Coordinators are trained to diagnose each issue to determine the authenticity of the problem and assess action against the relevant warranty standards. Where work is deemed necessary, a job instruction is raised with the original contractor and escalation steps are available in the event of no response. Arrangements for time and date of work are made by the After Build Coordinator on behalf of Occupant and Contractor and completion of works is confirmed by the same, before shutting the job down. This process is conducted in accordance with agreed response SLAs.

POINT 5 – The service provided by the builder after occupation

For full customer care After Build will take calls from Occupants for ANY problem whatsoever – where this is not build related, the Coordinator shall retain ownership of the issue while seeking out the appropriate third party for effective resolution.

All services can be conducted in either After Build’s name or that of the Site or the Developer. In such latter instances, branding and dedicated lines/email /postal addresses are employed.

Cost of doing nothing
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